Handling Staff Absence When the Bad Weather Strikes
With the cold weather front setting in, commuters and employers alike are starting to panic about potential snow days. Whether you love it or hate it, snow does cause a tad few issues for us Brits and can leave managers in a real quandary in terms of absence levels and continued productivity. So what exactly should you be doing to ensure your business does not come to complete standstill in times of adverse weather?
Whilst one snow day can be fun, a bit of a novelty and generally considered an acceptable amount of time to take of work, the real issue is when one day turns into two and when services must continue irrespective of the weather. With the added issue of employees being affected in difference ways by the weather and often with differing views on when a snow day is deemed necessary, a policy really needs to be put in place.
Here are few tips on things to consider and include when it comes to your policy:
1. Keep it clear and consistent Consider all flexible working options – if staff can work at home then let them
2. Keep in contact and keep staff up to date with office closures and re-openings
3. Bear in mind localised weather. Just because you can make it in to the office doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will be able to.
4.Reinforce the importance of your employee’s health and safety – you do not want anyone taking any unnecessary risks
5.School closures can often mean that whilst parents can make it to the office they won’t have any childcare. These situations should be dealt with how they usually would be (i.e. if a child was sick ). The parents can be given the option of using TOIL, or making up the time if this policy is in place, unpaid leave or annual leave.
6.There is no legal right to pay if employees are off work due to adverse weather. However, it is up to you and some employer’s offer 1-3 days unpaid leave in such circumstances. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s consistent across the board.
In general, try and be as flexible as you can be when the bad weather hits and consider any options to keep staff working, whether it means working from home or at another local office instead. When developing your policy also keep in mind that you want to be balancing the business needs with the health and safety of your employees. A policy will make a huge difference, alongside good communication, but it won’t of course cover all eventualities, so prepare yourself for questions and queries and try and communicate a fair and consistent message to all. Good luck!